I'm going to be dead tired before noon even approaches, but I'm smiling now! The focus of my day, has been on getting tmk up to snuff enough that I can use it as a general purpose solution to my problem: cursing at the present 'generation' of such tools.
I worked on getting a base set of magic bound variables and teaching tmk that certain rules may be skipped, if a set of pre-conditions hold about the files involved. Getting that done was easy enough. The checking code is now more robust, properly handling an arbitrary set of input/output names, in as much is humanly possible ;). I'm smiling, because I spent most of the night being annoyed every which ways up, on top of an already splitting head. Ended up having to quit coding for a bit, and just hit RvS for a couple hours.
About two hours sleep, and still plenty of hours until sunrise, I woke up and got back to the codin' and now it's done!
So far, tmk is put together in a rather short amount of time, even if it's been on my dancing list for a few months; finally it's almost beta quality. Only show stopper that's come up in testing, is it fails to handle unexisting tmk variables correctly, but that's a one LOC fix. An outsanding issue, is that tmk variables with whitespace in them are improperly expanded, e.g. $(foo bar) expands to bar) even when a variable named 'foo bar' exists. That however is because of how the tokenization feeds the parsed data into the variable expansion system. Although for the sake of simplicity, I planned long ago to make the specs dictate such variable names as invalid whether or not tmk actually accepts them, so it's a lesser issue. The include processor directive, also reports the wrong (e.g. parent) filename but correct line number (e.g. from the included file), yet that bug can be fixed in a few minutes; so I haven't bothered yet.
Two features that remain to be done, is making rules relational (by dependency) rather then executing them in sequence, and to giving tmk the option of using checksums rather then modification times for minimising rebuilds.Which also comes into part of the leg work, for implementing a cache, hehe
Most of what needs doing, is some light polish and adding more builtin directives. Been thinking about making tmk understand a simple plugin system, that would allow it to load reasonably trusted bits of python code into part of the program, thus allowing new directives to be added at will, as well as replaced. I'll worry about that later though.